“Well over 20 years ago, I lost the sight in my left eye and after initially going to my local eye hospital I was passed on to a Neurologist. After a series of tests I was diagnosed with MS. I was only 24. This was a shock as I knew someone who had the disease and she used a wheelchair. My wife and I were expecting our first child so I was worried how my MS was going to affect me and my family. My family were all very supportive and together we found out more about the disease. Although I continued to work as an engineer for another 7 years, I became more and more tired; I now know this to be fatigue.
Six years after being diagnosed I started to get pins and needles in my left arm and leg, which later became numb. Every year following this I had one or two relapses, each time something different happened and eventually I had difficulty lifting my left leg and so I used a walking stick. A few years later, my right leg became affected and later a tremor developed in my left arm. Of course this was annoying, but I am right handed and so found different ways to do some things. I have hand controls on my car and so can still drive, which of course still gives me independence.
I eventually had to stop working as an engineer and so wanted to find something to keep me occupied. Five years ago I was introduced to a team of Neurological Consultant Doctors who told me of their idea to create an MS centre of excellence in Bristol, where people could receive treatment for the disease and be involved in new drug trials under a specialist team of MS doctors, nurses and a physiotherapist. They asked if I would help them raise funds for the unit and so became their Voluntary Fundraising Manager in 2007.
My condition is now secondary progressive and so I cannot do quite as much as I used to, but I try to go to the BrAMS Centre each day, just for a few hours, depending on how I feel. I have received treatment at the centre and I feel that because I have been able to continue to still work, albeit part time, this has helped me to stay positive and help others with the disease.”